Safety incentive program not unreasonable

The union objected to the company's safety incentive plan. The union claimed that it resulted in unreported accidents and created hostility between workers. The arbitrator was unable to find evidence for these claims and dismissed the grievance.
By Mark Rogers
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 08/30/2012

When the employer unilaterally reintroduced a contested safety incentive program, the union pursued a policy grievance claiming that the incentive program was inappropriate and that the employer’s actions were unreasonable.

The employer operated a large beef kill and processing plant employing about 800 workers. The work was hazardous. Workers were routinely exposed to sharp implements, high-speed equipment and heavy loads.

Over the union’s objections, the employer introduced a safety incentive program. The program divided the workforce into 28 teams and provided two levels of rewards for teams that did not log any reportable injuries: coffee and donuts for one accident-free month; a catered steak lunch for three accident-free months. A reportable injury was an injury that required outside medical attention.